The lower esophageal sphincter is a valve between the esophagus and the stomach that remains closed and opens only to receive food . Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when this sphincter remains partially relaxed, allowing stomach fluids and food debris to escape back into the esophagus. Factors that contribute to worsening reflux are: smoking, alcohol use, pregnancy, obesity, caffeine, chocolate and spicy foods.
Patients usually complain of severe heartburn, throat discomfort, discomfort when bending down and lying down after meals, especially in the evening and at night.
Gastritis, on the other hand, is inflammation in the inner lining of the stomach . Its main causes are: excessive use of anti-inflammatory drugs, caffeine, alcohol, stress, spicy and acidic foods, in addition to a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori.
Patients complain of lack of appetite, indigestion, pains that usually pass quickly, but return soon , nausea and vomiting after eating food.
And the ulcer? It is a wound on the innermost part of the stomach or the first portion of the intestine, called the duodenum. Its main causes are similar to gastritis.
Most of the time, patients complain of lasting abdominal pain, weight loss, frequent vomiting that in more severe cases, may have blood, which is a warning that the mucosal wounds have already reached blood vessels and that, consequently, ulcer is already serious. In addition to vomiting, feces may contain blood, becoming darker.
The appropriate exam to analyze these and more gastric diseases is endoscopy, which is a very useful procedure, as it uses images to better identify the problem to be solved. Talk to your doctor so he can check if there is a need for endoscopy.